DIY Calendar / Weekly Notebook

All the bookstores are cramped with calendars at the moment. Is it me or do you also get the feeling that calendars come out earlier and earlier every year?

Usually, I wouldn’t be thinking about calendars yet for another half year—until mine is used up and they are mostly sold out ;-).

However, I’m currently in the midst of improving my time and self management with a vengeance. And calendars play a vital role in good time management.

In my quest to a more organized and relaxed life, I’ve come to a point where I have to ditch my beloved tiny pocket calendar and instead go for something I can do my weekly planning in while commuting.

I’ve found that daily planning does not work for me. If I schedule a particular activity for a certain day, very likely I won’t do it. If I schedule activities for a week, on the other hand, I can very well motivate myself to do things from the list if I have time.

I looked in several shops and did long searches on the internet. As usual, it was exceedingly difficult to find a particular thing on the net if you don’t know precisely how it is called.

The closest thing I found to what I wanted was a so-called “weekly notebook” or “Wochennotizkalender” for my German readers. It has a double page for each week: the weekdays are on the left to note down appointments and there is an entire page for week notes on the right.

I really liked some of the ones I saw, but with all the categories I had that I wanted to take notes for, I could be sure that only one A6 page for notes was just not enough space.

After a while I realized that what I wanted didn’t exist and that I’d have to go and make it myself.

My requirements were:

  • A6 size pages so it fits nicely into my bag
  • Reduced but classy and professional-looking design
  • Two double pages per week: one double page for the week days to note down appointments, followed by a double page of weekly planning (with my own categories)
  • 60 grms paper to make the calendar as light and thin as possible
  • No templates to fill in by hand this time but the whole thing finished on the computer and printed out
  • Public holidays, daylight saving times etc. should be labeled and holidays stand out in a different color; and only the ones important to me!
  • A nice-looking, durable cover
  • Some additional useful pages: a first page with my personal data and emergency contacts; a few contact pages for important contacts that I’d have to have with me all the time; space for sticky-note shopping lists; a birthday calendar; and an empty page at the back to note down dates that lie after the calendar has ended
  • Elastic band closure

Design

Once you know what format and size your calendar is supposed to have, you can start designing it on your PC.

Unlike in my DIY planner, which I wanted to be very colorful and fun, I wanted to go with a very reduced and simple design for the calendar. I want to be able to see the appointments at a glance and not be distracted by colors and design.

Here are the double pages for the week and the weekly planning:

A first page with personal details and emergency contacts:

A page for important contacts that I sometimes need while I’m out and about:

Spaces for sticky-note shopping lists:

And a birthday calendar at the end:

Make sure you get everything right and don’t forget anything. I noticed later when everything was finished that I forgot one week. 😦 That could quite easily be solved by taping in an additional sheet. But other mistakes might not be so easy to remedy.

Printing to A6

The biggest challenge of this project was to print to A6. The thing is that most printer software comes equipped with an algorithm to print A5-sized booklets. But none has a function for printing A6 booklets.

I thus had to figure out myself in what order the pages would have to go on the sheets, front and back.

I couldn’t find any helpful tutorials for something like this on the net, only that a lot of other people have the same problem.

So I really had to think that one through and try it out: I started with the basic assumption that I would eventually need four A5 sheets that I could put together to one signature. Hence I would need two A4 sheets for one signature.

I used some spare printer paper, cut it in half and folded it into a signature. Then I numbered all the pages and glued it back together to two A4 sheets.

This gave me a clue to the order the pages had to appear in. Now I used Excel to calculate the rest of the pages. With over 200 pages you really want to make sure they are all in the right place.

I ended up with 13 signatures. Make sure your pages add up. If you don’t have enough pages for an entire signature left at the end, a signature does not necessarily need to have four pages. But make sure to check the order of the pages because that will change then.

If you have the right order, print the whole thing out. Some printing software can’t take printing orders for too many pages at once, so you might have to split it up.

Then just cut the A4 pages in half, fold the A5 sheets in half and put them together into signatures—make sure they are all in the right order.

Binding

I wanted to go for a reusable cover, and one with durable vinyl to protect it in my purse, so I had to use a different binding method than I had for my previous bookbinding experiments.

I ran into this awesome idea by SeaLemon:

DIY Slip-On Leather Book Cover

You’ll need Coptic Stitch binding for this, so if you haven’t done Coptic stitch before, check out her tutorial as well:

Coptic Stitch Binding Tutorial

I for my part had not used the Coptic stitch before because I don’t like the look of it for hardcover binding.

For this project it is the better alternative, though, because it allows you to attach a harder cover to slip into the cover without gluing. And you don’t see the spine anyway because it is covered by the slip-on cover.

This technique has the advantage that the book can lie completely flat thanks to the Coptic stitch and that you can reuse the cover for your next calendar once the year is up.

And here is how to make this:

Recycle a food carton, e.g. from cereals, and cut out a front and backside for your calendar. It needs to have the same size as the pages.

Since you’re going to see the inner part of it, you can glue a piece of colored paper on one side if you like:

Make sure the pages are all lined up nicely and secure them. Then use a pencil to mark the binding holes on all signatures down the spine. Use an awl to punch the holes.

Use the Coptic stitch to bind. I need a little practice; good job you won’t see the spine later. 😉

If you like and have a corner cutter, round the corners.

Now get strong, thick vinyl and an elastic band and use the calendar to measure how much you will need. Cut to size.

On the inside it should look like this:

Since vinyl is hard to pin together because it is so thick and the pins might leave marks, use adhesive tape to hold everything in place.

If you like, add a ribbon placeholder. However, I found that if the calendar is quite thick this doesn’t work so well.

Once you have taped everything in place, once again use your booklet to check that everything fits and then sew from one corner to the next. Remove tape when it is not needed anymore. Repeat on the opposite side.

Now the cover is done and can be slipped onto the booklet.

Et voilà! You’re done and can enter your appointments and planning.

Happy planning! 😉

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Categories: Bookbinding and Papercraft, Creativity | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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